In the preface to my upcoming book, Armageddon Medicine, I refer to the four phases health care will likely experience at TEOTWAWKI: floundering, fading, forgotten, and future.
Recently someone asked, Are there any signs the process has already begun? Is the health care system already beginning to flounder?
I think I’ll have to answer yes to that for several reasons.
- Doctor shortages . . . Just this week I inherited patients from 3 or 4 other physicians who had recently retired, doctors not much older than myself. They did not communicate their reasons, but based on what’s happening across the country, I’d conclude it’s the large hassle factor: electronic health records, Medicare cuts, high malpractice, higher patient load with less income. Where does it all end?
- Drug shortages . . . Who hasn’t heard about cancer patients unable to finish their round of chemo treatments? Along with that, too many drugs are manufactured overseas; too few made in the USA. (Of course stores that sell goods from China will sell drugs from overseas as well. How else to keep the prices down?)
- Common sense shortages . . . It doesn’t take a genius to see that, in America, we have more expensive technology than we can pay for. For example, dialysis costs about $200,000 per year per patient. No rationing exists, and as Americans age, the need will only increase for hip replacements, organ transplants, cancer treatment, heart surgery, nursing home care . . . the list goes on and on. Perhaps we have passed the tipping point.
- Privacy shortages . . . Is it really necessary for the government to monitor who gets a flu shot, who receives a reminder of their upcoming doctor appointment, what a person’s body mass is, who receives a colonoscopy? Do we need big brother or Uncle Sam looking over our shoulder?
I’m thinking maybe the frog’s in the pot and just doesn’t know it yet. Your comments?